'Rübezahl'


'Rübezahl', 1969
by Kurt Regschek (1923-2005)

Rübezahl is a folklore mountain spirit (woodwose) of 
the Krkonoše Mountains (Giant Mountains, Riesengebirge, Karkonosze), 
a mountain range along the border between the historical lands Bohemia 
and Silesia. He is the subject of many legends and fairy tales in German 
and Czech folklore. Rübezahl was first mentioned  in 1565 
as 'Ribicinia' in a poem by Franz von Koeckritz


'Rübezahl' after Martin Helwig, 1561


Moritz von Schwind (1804–1871): 'Rübezahl'

In legends, Rübezahl is a capricious giant, gnome, or mountain spirit. 
With good people he is friendly, teaches medicine and gives presents. If 
someone derides him, however, his revenge is severe. He sometimes plays the 
role of a trickster in folk tales. The origin of the stories is from pagan times. Rübezahl is 
the fantastic Lord of Weather of the mountains and is similar to the Wild Hunt. Unexpectedly 
or playfully, he sends lightning and thunder, fog, rain and snow from the mountain below, 
even while the sun is shining. He took the appearance of a monk in a gray frock (like  
Wotan in his mantel of clouds) and holds a stringed instrument in his hand -
the storm harp - and walks so heavily that the earth trembles around him

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